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​Indonesian support to Palestinian archeologists and humanists to conserve its cultural heritage

MAGELANG– Nezar Kayed Najlaa leaned against one of the pillars in Borobudur Conservation Office on Friday (17/3). He took his cellular phone from his grey pocket and played some videos of his activities in Indonesia.

In a video he was looked so enthusiastic in playing percussions with a group of street artist in Yogyakarta. The humanist from Nablus, Palestine, was also amazed and curious with the dance performance he watched yesterday. “I don’t know what kind of dance they played. It is beautiful and I am interesting in Indonesian cultural,” said Nezar showed the videos toRepublika.co.id.
In the dining room, laughter was burst when Walid Abu Jouda Yousra sang an Arabian song accompanied subaba music played from his cellular phone. Subaba was a Palestinian music instrument resemble to Indonesian flute. It was commonly played in special events or festivities.
The sound of his voice and the subaba entertained the participants of workshop and training on conservation, monument restoration, world cultural heritage management, and tourism held by the directorate of technical cooperation of foreign minister cooperated with the directorate general of culture in educational and cultural ministry.
“Subaba is commonly played in wedding parties, commemorations of Holy day, and welcomes to Ramadhan,” said Walid making the lunch livelier.
While some participants enjoyed their lunch, an archaeologist from Hebron, Muhammad Abed Sulaeman Aliaradat talked to a representative of museum of asia-africa conference. The participants seemed cannot wait to visit the historical sites in Indonesia. They often talked about it and looked for preliminary information.
There were eleven Palestinians joined the program since March 13. They were archaeologists and humanists representing some big cities in Palestine. They would be in Indonesia for 13 days to share their knowledge and experiences in culture, cultural heritage conservation, tourism, and especially preservation of the cultural heritage.
“We are happy to cooperate with Indonesia. We learn how to preserve the cultural heritage and how to develop tourism. We say thank you for the welcome of Indonesian societies and for this important workshop,” said Nezar.
 
Conserving Cultural Heritage
There were about 7.000 historical sites and artifacts across some cities in Palestine. One of the oldest cities in the world, Jerusalem, had 220 historical sites.  Shakrah Dome was a dome of rock with time to time histories. It saved the story of Isra Mi’raj. The other was al-Aqsa Mosque.
Unfortunately, many of the sites had been damaged by disasters and war. This had been a concern of the archaeologists and humanists in that country. They worried the historical sites and cultural heritage could not be saved from any damaged stuffs.
Nezar said the never ending conflict between Palestine and Israel made it harder to save the sites. “We are constrained by Israel colonization. They made it harder to maintain and restore the historical sites. We had many historical churches and mosques, but Israel prohibited people to come there,” he said.
Muhammad Abed Sulaeman Aliaradat also said that war had made many damages in historical sites. It was more severe when many artifacts were stolen. However, in the middle of raged battle, the Ministry of Tourism and Historical Objects of Palestinian Government kept conducting researches and excavation efforts to find it.  
“We keep conducting restorations in Jericho, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem,” he said.
The efforts encouraged supports from many research institutions in the world concerning in historical sites and artifacts. France was one of the countries supported Palestine in developing the research and excavation.
Ahmed wanted to gain more knowledge, especially from Borobudur Conservation Office as it had been experienced in documenting historical sites. Abed said cultural heritage was the history and identity of Palestinian. He called international communities to participate in the effort of keeping the cultural heritage in Palestine.  
“Indonesia has been more experienced in documenting historical sites and monuments. We want to learn new techniques in documenting the heritage,” he said.
 
Conserving Cultural Heritage in Palestine
All the participants’ eyes were on the 3D pictures on the projector screen. The Palestinian people were captivated by the presentation of Borobudur Conservation Office showed 3D pictures of Indonesian temples and caves.
The discussion was led by the Coordinator of Documentation in Borobudur Conservation Office Bram Antara. He shared his knowledge and experiences in using the methods of data recording and documentation of historical sites.
One of the methods was 3D grametri pictures. It was a method of documenting photo-based cultural heritage to be processed as 3D pictures.  It considered the dimension, accuracy, and all things related to the recorded surface and material.
Bram also introduced 3D pictures laser scanning tool. It was a tool to collect coordinate data of an object or environmental surroundings. The data collected was processed in 3D dimension.
“They have known about it in general as many research institutions came to the country and they commonly use the tools. But in detail, there is no Palestinian used it. As there are many historical sites there, it is necessary to own, to use, and to apply it to record the data and inventories,” he said.
Bram also shared his knowledge about geo-radar. It was a technique to know the condition of underground artifacts and historical findings. The technique could also map the cultural heritage by drone. Bram hoped the knowledge could be applied in Palestine.
“There is a problem of drone using because it is prohibited in Palestine in all matter. But at least there are some methods they can use in Palestine. What we shared was easy (to apply),” he said.  
The participants also got a material on how to conserve the artifacts. Bram said the Palestinian researchers had been familiar with the tools used in Indonesia. However, lack of tools limited their experience in operating it in detail. 
Indonesian Capacity Building for Palestinian Independence
The training and workshop showed Indonesian support to the Palestinian independence. “Indonesian manifestation to Palestinian independence is not only in the form of political support, but also in the country development, by providing capacity building programs,” said the Director of Public Diplomacy of Indonesian Foreign Ministry Al Busyra Basnur in Borobudur Conservation Office in Magelang, Central Java on Friday.
Al Busyra said Indonesia had consistently supported Palestinian struggle to their independence. The commitment was stated in the first Asia-Africa Conference in 1965. Recently the Indonesian Government had given workshops and trainings for about 1.700 Palestinians. There were 154 capacity building programs in all sectors including tourism, agriculture, infrastructure, cyber crime, and state administration. He hoped the programs could help them to gain Palestine independence.

*by Andrian Saputra, Sri Handayani as published in Republika.

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